Covington & Burling LLP

Covington & Burling LLP


Covington & Burling LLP

1201 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW

Washington, DC 20004-2401

Phone: (202) 662-6000
Fax: (202) 662-6291

General Info


New York, NY, San Diego, CA,San Francisco, CA,Silicon Valley, CA, Washington, DC, Beijing, Brussels, London


Antitrust & Consumer Law, Arbitration/ADR, Bankruptcy, Communications, Corporate Securities & M&A, Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation, Employment & Employment Disputes, Energy, Carbon Markets & Clean Technology, Environmental, Financial Institutions, Food & Drug, Government Affairs, Government & Internal Investigations, Health Care, Insurance Coverage – Policyholders, Intellectual Property, International, Life Sciences, Litigation (Trial & Appellate), New Media & Content, Patent Counseling, Prosecution & Litigation, Privacy & Data Security, Securities Litigation and Enforcement, Sports, Tax, Trade, Transportation, White Collar Defense


No. of attorneys: 803

No. of offices: 8

Summer associate offers (2009): 77 out of 79

Chair, Management Committee: Timothy C. Hester

Hiring Attorneys:

Washington: Michael X. Imbroscio, Michael S. Labson

New York: Mark P. Gimble, Philip A. Irwin, Carey S. Roberts, J. D. Weinberg

San Francisco: Donald Brown, Kenneth D. Ebanks

San Diego: Laura E. Muschamp

Silicon Valley: Emily J. Henn

London: Grant Castle, Michael Kingston

Brussels: Peter W.L. Bogaert, Georg Berrisch

Vault's Scoop


  •  “Brilliant but old-fashioned” 
  • “Erudite"
  • “Conservative in DC; liberal in NY"
  •  “Gentleman's club”


  • U.S. Offices
  • 1st year: $160,000
  • 2nd year: $170,000
  • 3rd year: $185,000
  • 4th year: $210,000
  • 5th year: $230,000
  • 6th year: $250,000
  • 7th year: $265,000
  • 8th year: $280,000
  • Summer associate: $3,080/week

Employment Contact

Washington, DC, Ellen Purvance

Director, Legal Personnel Recruiting

Phone: (202) 662-6200

Fax: (202) 778-6700


New York, Nicole Carney

Director of Legal Recruitment

Phone: (212) 841-1066

Fax: (212) 841-1010


California, Gabrielle Hall

Human Resources Manager

Phone: (415) 591-6000

Fax: (415) 591-6091


London, Philippa Crompton

Human Resources

Phone: 44 (0)20 7067 2091

Fax: 44 (0)20 7067 1091


Brussels, Wendy Van Gijsegem

Office Manager Phone: 32 (0)2 549 5237

Fax: 32 (0)2 502 1598



  • “Nearly on-site day care -- Covington Kids”
  • “5x matching of donations to law schools”
  • “Firm social programs/happy hours”


  •  “Interesting and high-profile clients and matters”
  • The quality of attorneys at the firm is incredible -- they are brilliant and accomplished”
  •  “A friendly and benevolent firm”


  • “Passive-aggressive partners”
  • “The coffee -seriously, it's like sludge”
  •  “Antiquated IT”

Fun Fact

·         “US Attorney General Eric Holder is a former Covington partner”

Associate Life Verdict -With offices bursting at the seams with intelligent and studious lawyers, Covington was always bound to be a bit dry.   That being said, the associates are what make it that way -and they love it.


·         “Covington is a wonderful firm, and while being an associate at any law firm has its ups and downs, I don't think I would do it anyplace else.” -Corporate junior

·         “I don't like BigLaw practice, but I think Covington is the best possible version of something that is inherently not that great.” -Junior litigator

·         “I love the work that I do and the people with whom I work. I wish that I were in court more often, and I wish that I worked fewer hours.” -DC litigator

·         “Any dissatisfaction I feel about my job has nothing to do with Covington & Burling in particular, and more to do with law firm life in general.” -Renewable energy associate

Firm Culture

·         “Covington is pleasantly nerdy. I really like most of the people I work with. Partners make a real effort to spend time with associates.” -IP midlevel

·         “Lawyers are polite and friendly, but there is not a fratty atmosphere. Lots of social events-- with no pressure to attend.” -Corporate first-year

·         “Funeral?  No, not that bad, but it's quiet and studious. People are generally friendly and reasonable, however.” -DC senior

·         “A bit dry and awkward as a whole. But what do you expect of nerdy, brilliant people?” -IP junior


Associate/Partner Relations

·         “There are exceptions, sure, but for the most part Covington partners treat associates like trusted colleagues who will one day take over the helm.” -Young litigator

·         “It really depends on the partner. Some see us as glorified paralegals; some resent the salaries, some really respect and try hard to develop.  Fortunately, the latter do outnumber the former, in most groups.” -Midlevel attorney

·         “The partners here are great. I couldn't imagine working for a better group of people.” -DC litigator

·         “Relations are respectful and cordial.” -San Francisco associate


Office Space

·         “The artwork in the halls is fabulous, as are the oriental rugs on the hardwood floor and the marble in the bathroom.” -DC associate

·         “The location is great, right at Metro Center. Some of the floors have been renovated, but others are in need of a facelift.” -DC midlevel

·         “Can't complain about the location. Not posh, but so what?” -DC lawyer

·         “Beautiful space, terraces, and views.” -San Francisco associate


Hours/Money Verdict -No complaints from the Covington nerds on either count.  They know what kind of business they joined, and their hopes and apprehensions have largely come to pass in equal measure.


·         “I'd love to work fewer/more predictable hours, but I don't think that's realistic practicing at this level in this profession. As far as firms of its caliber go, I think Covington is really reasonable in its expectations and the amount of control associates get over their schedules.” –Senior associate

·         “Can't complain, really, considering the profession.” -IP attorney

·         “My hours are fine, but not great.  9-7 on average; sometimes longer, rarely shorter.” -Senior litigator

·         “Emphasis is put on the quality of work you do, not necessarily on the quantity.” -San Francisco associate



·         “Traditionally, compensation has been top of the market in all office locations. However, since late-2009, freeze in salary increases in place for all offices except for New York has made firm much less competitive, as compared to peer firms in similar markets.” -Corporate midlevel

·         “Growing up, I never thought I would make this much money. That being said, for the hours we work, we're not exactly getting rich.” -DC junior

·         “I wish there were financial incentives for billing more during the year.” -New York associate

·         “Compensation is more than fair, particularly given the surrounding legal climate.” -Midlevel IP attorney


Diversity Verdict -In an industry that typically prefers saving face to making truly substantial commitments to diversity, Covington is a positive example for others to follow.  The policies are there, and they work.


·         “They bend over backwards to recruit.  Not sure about retention, but they do try very, very hard to make it a place welcoming to all.” -Washington IP lawyer

·         “I think Covington is very good at hiring, retaining, and promoting all types of people. I have not detected even a whiff of bias against any class of people.” -IP first-year

·         “I have been impressed with Covington's maternity and childcare policies. LGBT diversity is great in the San Francisco office and good in the DC office.” -Corporate attorney 

·         “The firm has many policies that support female attorneys, including generous maternity leave, an affiliated day care, a formal mentoring program, and the start of more informal mentoring groups.” -DC midlevel


Professional Development Verdict -The formal training is top-notch, and extensive.  The informal is exclusively left to be just that, for better or for worse.


·         “The mentoring program is great. It is formal and has been very helpful.” -Midlevel litigator

·         “The firm provides many formal training opportunities, but is difficult to take advantage of them because professional development hours do not count for anything.” -Government relations associate

·         “The formal training programs for litigation are terrific, covering every conceivable skill. The informal training and mentoring is not as great, and tends to fall through the cracks as partners focus on getting the job at hand done and keeping client costs low.” -DC senior associate

·         “I personally believe that the best training is ‘on the job.’ Even though the firm offers many, many training programs, they do not replace getting practical experience by a long shot.” -International midlevel


Overall Business Outlook Verdict -Ever the conservative firm, Covington’s associates are equally conventional when it comes to the firm’s outlook, offering a picture of calculated growth.

Overall Business Outlook

·         “Business seems to be fine. There are some grumblings from associates about compensation, but morale is generally good.” -California litigator

·         “It appears that Covington remains strong even in this economy as there have been no talk of layoffs and we have opened new offices in other states.” -Midlevel attorney

·         “We are told that the current position is excellent, and there is no reason to believe otherwise.” -Junior litigator

·         “The problem isn't Covington's, it's the industries. I think Covington is as well-positioned, if not better, than most other firms, but it remains an uncertain time for all large law firms.” -Junior associate


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